Prince William calls for end to Israel-Hamas war 'as soon as possible', saying: 'Too many have been killed'

Prince William calls for end to Israel-Hamas war 'as soon as possible', saying: 'Too many have been killed'

The Prince of Wales has called for fighting to end “as soon as possible” in the Israel-Hamas war in a strongly-worded intervention.

In a statement from Kensington Palace on Tuesday, Prince William said: “I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October.

“Too many have been killed. I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible.

“There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and hostages are released. Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home.

“Even in the darkest hour, we must not succumb to the counsel of despair. I continue to cling to the hope that a brighter future can be found and I refuse to give up on that.”

Political interventions by members of the royal family are unusual.

Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, issued a statement in direct response to Prince William’s call for an end to the fighting.

Mr Levy said: “Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the Oct 7 atrocities is dismantled.

“We appreciate the Prince of Wales’ call for Hamas to free the hostages.

“We also recall with gratitude his statement from Oct 11 condemning Hamas’ terror attacks and reaffirming Israel’s right of self-defence against them.”

William’s statement came as the heir to the throne, 41, is carrying out a number of engagements to recognise the human suffering caused by the conflict in the Middle East.

He visited the headquarters of the British Red Cross in London on Tuesday which is helping to provide humanitarian aid in the region.

Rory Moylan, the BRC head of region for the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, briefed the prince about the "catastrophic" situation in Gaza and later described the royal visit as "extremely important" and a help to raising awareness.

Later the prince spoke via a video link to Pascal Hundt, senior crisis manager in Gaza for the International Committee of the Red Cross, who was in southern Gaza, and told the royal: "I don't even have words any more to describe what we are seeing, what we are hearing."

Prince William’s office has also said he will draw attention to the global rise in antisemitism.The Prince of Wales, who in 2018 became the first senior British royal to make an official visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories, will next week attend a synagogue to hear from young people who are involved in tackling hatred and antisemitism as part of his engagement schedule.

Kensington Palace said: "The prince and princess were profoundly concerned by events that unfolded in late 2023 and continue to hold all the victims, their family and friends in their hearts and minds.

"Their Royal Highnesses continue to share in the hope of a better future for all those affected."

Prince William talks to employees as he visits the British Red Cross (AP)
Prince William talks to employees as he visits the British Red Cross (AP)

During his visit to the Red Cross on Tuesday, when William was asked whether he had any questions, the future King replied: ‘How are you keeping sprits up in your organisation? How are you keeping people motivated to deliver support and the humanitarian work you are doing in such conditions?’

As he left the building a large crowd had built up and there were two shout of ‘Free free Palestine’ as he left but otherwise people were simply craning to get a picture of him.

Royal aides said it was “really important” to the prince to be able to use his platform to “shine a light on the human suffering” in the Middle East.

They stressed the visit hadn’t been specifically timed, but had been postponed from last month.

Aides stressed that the prince’s office had consulted with the FCO before his statement was released.

They said it was neither calling for a ceasefire or a two state solution. “That is something we would not get involved with but UK government’s policy is very clear on this,” they added.

It is understood that William has “thought a lot about making a statement”.

But he had been long keen to visit the British Red Cross, of which his late grandmother was patron of for many years, because it was a neutral organisation. She opened the building he visited in 2005.

The Prince of Wales, talks to employees as he visits the British Red Cross (AP)
The Prince of Wales, talks to employees as he visits the British Red Cross (AP)

The war in Gaza started last October when Hamas fighters burst into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages, in what William's father, King Charles, had called "barbaric acts of terrorism".

Since then the Israeli military response has resulted in the deaths of more than 29,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health authorities.

There are fresh fears about an escalation in the conflict if Israeli forces move into Rafah, a city and major aid delivery point in southern Gaza.

The Arab Group chairman this month, Tunisia's UN ambassador Tarek Ladeb, told UN reporters last Wednesday that some 1.5 million Palestinians who sought safety in Rafah face a "catastrophic scenario" if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with a potential evacuation of civilians and military offensive in the area bordering Egypt.

In 2018, William undertook, on behalf of the Government, the first official trip by a member of the monarchy to Israel and the Occupied West Bank.

During his visit he sat down for separate talks with Mr Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.